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10 Tips to Enjoy Gili Air Like a Local

I came to Gili Air nearly 10 years ago, and I immediately fell in love with this stunning and peaceful island. With white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, palm tree plantations, and the view of the majestic Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Gili Air had my heart from day one. These are just some of the reasons why I have settled here, and why every day I keep falling in love with this place. My wish is for you to explore the best of what Gili Air has to offer, so you can see the magic that I found in this place.

Download our Travel Like a Local – E-book 2020 by Gili Travel Agency here, to explore the best of what Gili Air has to offer!


One of my favorite things to do when the sun has set in Gili Air is to visit the amazing Pura Vida. On Sundays they have Live Reggae Music, which you can enjoy on their beachfront restaurant just next to the ocean. Let the moonlight shine while this wonderful Reggae band light up your night. See if you can sit still or if the great vibe brings you to dance in the sand. 


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Another fun thing to do after sunset is to join the crowd at Mexican Kitchen for an awesome Salsa Night. Every Monday this lovely beachfront restaurant hosts Salsa Night for beginners and advanced – starting with a lesson followed by a fun salsa dance for everyone. Taste their margaritas and nachos while you are there! You are definitely in for a treat. 


Any other night, I love sitting around the fire at Queen Sunset after watching a gorgeous sunset. That bar has managed to keep the energy, which I fell in love with 10 years ago, alive; it is a cute, local bar with a laid back underground island atmosphere. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. They often have international DJ’s pop up – Tune in; you never really know what will happen, but it is always a memorable night. 


If you feel like having a dance, @giliairevents has all the night action of the island.


Gili Air is known for its amazing and colorful sunsets. See the sun paint the sky in fifty shades of pink while it sets behind Mount Agung in Bali. But which place is the best to watch this stunning time of the day? My favourite go-to place is Camilla Beach Club on the North side of Gili Air. With a glass of wine and a platter of delicious sushi, you can enjoy the sunset in peaceful and quiet surroundings. Sometimes a DJ will turn up some lovely sunset-tunes for your treat. Enjoy! 


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Gili Air is booming with many new and wonderful places around the island. One of my favourite new places is Kenza Yoga. This beautifully decorated yoga shala is located right next to the ocean on the East coast of Gili Air.

Enjoy an inspiring yoga class while the wind gently plays with the white curtains while watching the turquoise water splash on the shore. After class, you can try their healthy menu at Kenza Café with tasty smoothie bowls and delicious avocado on sourdough. Yummi! 



One of the reasons why I fell in love with Gili Air from day one, is the unique and vibrant local community. On this island, the locals are always nice, friendly and inspiring to talk to. I love to visit Gili Air’s Elementary School (SD) on Saturday mornings when the volunteers of Soraya Foundation connect with the kids of Gili Air. Give back to the local community by joining in for an English class or a zero-waste lesson on the beach. 


If you are interested in giving back through ocean projects, you should definitely talk to the lovely people from Gili Shark Conservation. They also teach conservation classes at the elementary school on Saturdays. 


Photo by @sorayafoundation


I simply love the Indonesian kitchen! Nothing beats a tasteful Lombok Curry or a spicy Nasi Goreng. It is amazing how most Indonesian chefs just know how to use spices and ingredients.

My favourite place in Gili Air to eat local food is definitely at Warung Alam Damai. Alam Damai means peaceful world, and here Chef Darma cooks the most delicious Indonesian dishes. Sometimes he even offers you a cooking class – just order your food, and he will show you how to cook the meal. Make sure to tip him, because he is amazing! 



The Gili Islands are well known for their rich marine life and their stunning coral gardens. Any dive instructor will guarantee you to spot a turtle or two during a dive, and it is magical to explore the world underneath the surface.

Visit the reefs of Gili Air with Dedi at Blue Marine Dive. He has been diving the Gilis his entire life, and he knows the corals better than his own pocket. 


Photo by @bluemarinediveair


If scuba diving is not your thing, you still have a chance to spot the amazing turtles. Around the Gili Islands, many spots are well known for millions of fish species, octopus, rays and turtles. Head out on a private boat with Captain Madi. He is one of the originals of the island, and he has even built his own boat. Captain Madi has been sailing the waters of Gili for ages, and he knows exactly where to take you to bring you to the turtles. Ask Madi to swing by the statues of Jason de Caires Taylor outside of Gili Meno. 


Photo by @bluemarinediveair


When visiting a tropical island like Gili Air, it is essential to take time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. There is no other place on the island like the magical Slow Villas & Spa, where unique spa experiences are waiting for you.

Try a traditional Lombok Massage or treat yourself with a facial and pedicure treatment. Would you like to try a romantic flower bath with your loved one? This idyllic place uses only organic products and gives you the full luxury experience. Slow Villas & Spa also have 9 luxury villas nestles in a beautiful coconut plantation.

If you are in for a night in luxury surroundings, this is definitely the place to go. 


Photo by @slowgiliair


The best thing I know is walking on a CLEAN beach, where you don’t find plastic and trash everywhere. This is why I love the many initiatives around Gili Air where you can help clean the beaches.

My favorite one to join is the beach clean up with the Trash Heroes at 3W Dive. You should definitely try!

@3wdive @trashheroesgiliair 


You haven’t really been to Gili Air, if you don’t have a swing-shot on the beach shore, have you? The coast of Gili Air is full of beautiful swings where you can take lovely photos at sunset and sunrise.

The best swing to visit is the one at Pink Coco. This cute pink swing is surrounded by a fully pink set-up, which is the ideal location for a swing photo! 


Photo by: @pinkcoco_hotels / @andrealarsson

So, welcome to Gili Air! I wish you a beautiful stay in this magical island. Please feel free to contact me for any inquiries, transfers, or a tailor-made travel around Indonesia.

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